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Literary Modernism

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The term “modern” makes people think of words like bold and captivating. Literary modernism is just that. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, poets and writers steered away from the traditional styles of literature and moved towards expressing the true sensibilities of their time. Some writers that followed this trend are Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and T.S. Eliot. The techniques that these outstanding literary buffs used were rejection of traditional themes, subjects, and forms; bold experimentation in style and form reflecting fragmentation of society; sense of disillusionment and loss of faith in the American Dream; rejection of sentimentality; rejection of the ideal hero and instead using the flawed hero; interest in the workings of the human mind; and revolt against the spiritual debasement of the modern world. Many early authors, like the ones mentioned above, used these techniques to contribute to a unique American voice.
In T.S. Eliot’s Poem, The Waste Land, modernism is strewn across every page. In the time period it was composed, The Waste Land was a very unique poem that displayed many modern characteristics. Here, the concept behind modernism was to show the rejection away from society. Eliot was living during the period where the traditional norms of the 1800’s were cast aside and writers wrote more realistic and how life really was. The poem breaks traditional form by not having customary stanzas and lines; not to mention the random spurts of foreign language. Unlike the typical poems of its time, it did not use excessive imagery to paint a picture or rhyming. Eliot sought out a new type of poetry that used individual fragments to create a sense of desolation that he thought the world was suffering...

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... which the novel takes place is one of moral debauchery. Whether their money is inherited or earned, those who live in the society in “The Great Gatsby” are morally corrupt. They are living life in pursuit of cheap pleasures and with seemingly no moral purpose. Any person who endeavors to move up through the social order becomes corrupt in the process. Fitzgerald’s unique American voice is developed through scrutinizing the American Dream.
Each of these poets or writers contributed to the great period of literary modernism. The use of this modernism contributed to each man’s unique American voice. The Waste Land, “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”, and “The Great Gatsby” are undoubtedly some of the utmost pieces of literature to exemplify this unique voice. Without the contributions of writings like these, the literary world would be much different today.
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